Man, all this presidential candidate pandering is getting out of control. When John McCain first talked about saving the average family $30 on gas taxes over the summer by instituting a "gas tax holiday," it was easily pegged as a pretty dumb idea that wouldn't do much to help with the average family's budget or with America's addiction to oil. Still, calling for lower taxes is a time-honored pander in American politics, and McCain was soon followed by Hillary Clinton in singing the praises of the tax holiday idea. Her plan includes charging the oil companies $8b to pay for the tax holiday, which McCain's doesn't.
Clinton spent the weekend defending her support, and did so in a bizarre way. During an Indiana town-hall meeting, she did not give ABC host George Stephanopoulos an answer to his question about which economists support the tax holiday. Instead, she tried to argue that the lack of expert/economist support for the idea just means that "elite opinion" is against the working class on this issue.
Clinton and her Democratic rival, Barack Obama, continue to fight over the issue today, with Obama rightly calling the holiday idea a "gimmick" (although, as AutoblogGreen readers have pointed out, he did support a state gas tax holiday back when he was in the Illinois Legislature). In a CBS News/New York Times poll that was released yesterday, voters came out against the holiday: 49 percent said it was a bad idea, 45 said it was good.
[Source: Talking Points Memo, LA Times, Washington Post]